Today marks the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the true start of fall and a day split evenly between darkness and light. Since the Summer Solstice we’ve been slowly losing daylight; now we hit equilibrium, a balancing pose between sun and earth that, as the days pass, will gradually tilt toward darkness. The process will reverse itself on the Winter Solstice in December, the shortest day of the year, when our days will grow longer again.
To honor the seasonal shift and this fine moment of cosmic balance, we’re practicing a simple sequence designed to bring our dual aspects into alignment.
Autumnal Equinox Flow
- Start in Mountain Pose, Tadasana. Close your eyes and draw energy up through the soles of your feet. Follow it up the spine and out the crown of your head. Bring your awareness to your breath and trace it up and down the midline for several inhales and exhales. If you work with an intention, set one now.
- Open your eyes and step your left foot back about three feet. Turn all ten toes to face the long edge of the mat, outer edges of your feet parallel. Square your hips and then set up for Trikonasana, Triangle Pose. Turn your right toes to the top edge of the mat and align your right heel with your left arch.
- Lengthen the arms, shift your hips back and hinge forward. Place your top hand on your leg, a block, the floor or peace-wrap your big toe.
- Stay in Triangle for several breaths.
- Rise up from Triangle and lengthen your stance. Bend the front knee deeply over the ankle and press firmly through the outer edge of your back foot. Extend through your fingers and sink into Warrior Two.
- From Warrior Two, tip forward and place your fingertips on the floor outside your right foot. Shift your weight and gaze forward, get light on your back toes and float the left leg up. Stack the left hip on top of the right, lift the top arm and turn your gaze to the ceiling. You’re in Ardha Chandrasana, Half Moon Pose.
- Imagine yourself balanced between two planes of glass, or picture yourself at the intersection of day and night, not leaning more into one than the other.
- Come out of Half Moon by lowering your top hand to the floor and squaring your hips to the mat. Keep your back leg lifted.
- Dome your back by drawing your belly into your spine. Bend the lifted knee toward your nose and draw it into your chest. Wrap your hands around the shin below your knee, firm through your standing foot and rise up to stand on one leg.
- Place the sole of your left foot on the inseam of your right leg. Take Tree.
- Stay in Vrksasana for at least ten breaths. When you’re complete, lower the leg and find Tadasana. Restate your intention and prepare for the second side.
- Move through the poses on the left side. After tree, take rest in Child’s Pose and then relax into Shavasana.